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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #017
November 17, 2022
My sincerest apologies for getting this out late.
As I was working on this on October 28, my computer crashed.... of course I said a few (a lot) of choice words and shed a few frustrated tears... well, a lot of those too.
But today, almost 3 weeks later... I am back on my keyboard with a new hard drive... the wonderful folks at SBI who host my site, were able to change the sending date which means you will get a late one, but not a half-finished newsletter.
November started off like a late summer and yesterday, SNOW.... (Nov. 16)
And in spite of not having access to my computer, Lucy celebrated Hallowe'en... perhaps celebrating is not the right word, but she tolerated our giggles.
In tattered gold
Tossing bits of amber
And jade, jewels of a year grown old:
There is still Colour in the Garden
Japanese Blood Grass,(Imperata cylindrica)
Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)
Heuchera comes in so many colours...
Tree Peony, Forest Grass
Leave Your Garden Standing...
We all like tidy gardens
but the wee beneficial insects like it messier.
Leave the seed heads for chickadees and goldfinches.
Vary the length of other stems that are hollow
so wee insects and some bees will lay eggs in them,
hatching in the spring…
then, leave them all summer
as the other new growth will soon hide them
and still give places to shelter.
Take the hollow stems you cut off
and put them on their sides
in a pot for the same reason.
For lots more on Fall Gardening... look here...
My very soul is wedded to it
and if I were a bird,
I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot (1819-1880)
Dirty Little Secrets...
SOIL - is alive and essential to healthy plants… its a process in 4 steps
1 - be gentle… no roto-tilling - it damages tiny fungal threads and disturbs small soil animals
2 - add organic material at least fall and spring
3 - cover your soil - mulch… holds moisture, keeps weeds down
4 - add nitrogen to these hungry plants like Kale, cabbage, lettuce, corn and tomatoes and sunflowers
(thanks to the Home Garden Seed Association)
FALL is the time to empty your compost bin….A great place for RATS who love that rich soil and will live in that composter all winter…
LEAVES are carbon-rich, and increase soil vitality and texture while enhancing soil’s ability to hold moisture (less watering) and adds nutrients and increases plant resilience against pests and diseases
Leave some that break down easily, (Maple) on the garden and put compost on top of them.
Cut them with mower and put on compost pile… or if you have no room to do this, put them out with yard waste ( our city composts them)
NULCH - keeps moisture in, protects the soil and breaks down to feed plants and soil.
I have added a lot on this, because
I have been getting so many questions
about when to prune Hydrangeas
... so here it is..
or.."Bigleaf"…. Hydrangea macrophylla
Endless summer, Cityline etc
shades of pink, blue, purple, white
Blooms on OLD wood or last year’s growth Stems)
PRUNE ONLY AFTER BLOOMING
... and wait till the little buds turn green in the spring
and then ONLY cut back the dead AFTER it leafs out
MOPHEAD (photo HGTV)
LACECAP (photo Ron Sheldrick) #sheldrickr
If you prune in the fall,
you may cut off those small buds
just above the leaves
(see sketch above)
Those will be next year's blooms.
Smooth Hydrangea (Annabelle)
native to Eastern North America
blooms on NEW wood
prune back to ground,
or to cascade blooms,
cut short in front, to tallest in back
or random lengths of stems for overall blooms
(photo - Ron Sheldrick) #sheldrickr
PANICLE HYDRANGEA -Hydrangea paniculata
Cone-shaped blooms, dense blossoms
Blooms on NEW wood…
Cut back EARLY SPRING for bushier
Limelight, Little Lime,
Bobo, Vanilla Strawberry
Often in “tree” form
Native to USA… prefers part shade
blooms on OLD Wood….
PRUNE ONLY WHEN NECESSARY -Just the OVERGROWN OR DEADWOOD
Pee Wee, Gatsby
Hydrangea anomala subs. petiolaris
Self-clinging woody vine
Blooms on OLD wood so just prune for size but remove any dead
or spent blooms (in spring)
These are often sold around Easter in pots - pink or blue.
They used to be planted with neonicotinoids which are now regulated.
It the tag says they are in the soil,
wash the roots well before planting in your garden.
They may not do well in colder zones,
but if you are fortunate,
they will come back for a few seasons like this one.
PRUNE old blooms only...
otherwise prune the same as the Endless Summer.
Photo: Sandy Spremo
DON'T deadhead your roses... no matter is there are still blooms, leave them... and
PLEASE don't prune your roses in the fall or strip off the leaves... they need all that green in the leaves and stems to go back down to the roost.. this feeds them so they are strong all winter, building disease and pest resistance for the following season.
And, leave the rose hips... full of vitamin C... and the birds love them...
There are some canes you can prune... like the one below....prune any damaged canes back to a healthy stem or bud.
Long ("lax") canes may reach over a path or walkway
and snag your coat... or your pet...
prune them back just enough
to keep them out of the way.
Then hill up your roses with compost or mulch and a thick layer of leaves.
Make sure the bud union
(where the stems or canes meet the root)
are buried at least a few inches below the soil level
... if you haven't done that, use more compost and mulch to cover it.
That bud union,
if not buried can easily freeze in zones 5 and lower
- often killing the rose
or shortening its life.
...there is more here....
Lucy and I are sad Summer is over,
but she confesses to LOVING the snow...
and yesterday she jumped into it...
diving head first.... leaping like a rabbit....
In the meantime,
we are cutting boughs,
hunting for last year's decorations to reuse
- making arrangements for friends and ourselves..
I LOVE the HOLIDAYS...
And for me, that means CHRISTMAS !!
Until next time....
Be sure to love this time of slowing down;
time to read and plan next year's garden.
...and how about a great gift ?
When I sell a copy of my book
(The Little Bird Who Fell From the Sky)
for a child who attends a school,
I donate one to their school library.
If you wish to purchase one with another for a school,
please send a note to:
They are now in schools in Ontario, Labrador, New Brunswick,
Latvia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, BC,
Arizona, California, Florida, the UK,
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